Friday, December 30, 2016

Worthwhile or Gimmick?

As 2017 is upon us, a lot of people are seriously considering losing weight, eating healthier or getting shape as a "New Year / New Me Resolution" of sorts.  It seems a good time to do it too.  The holidays are over, so excuses for eating everything in sight are gone.  New Years = New Beginnings.  I know a lot people don't even bother because resolutions are so likely to fail.

If you are thinking about making a fitness/weight loss related change...whether it's for the New Year, or maybe just because you need to do something, I want to send out a few cautions for you to consider.  Ask yourself these questions:

1.  Are you hoping to lose weight because you want to be thin or because you want to be healthy?  (Or both?)

There are a lot of weight loss programs that promise quick results.  Be very cautious of these.  When you first start a weight loss regimen, chances are you can lose 5-10 lbs. quickly, regardless of the program.  Drink lots of water, throw your metabolism a change to diet and the scale will move.

Think about the long term health benefits to your program.  If you can't learn how to eat normally on this program, you may lose weight up front, but once you start to "eat" again, you will gain the weight back.

A reasonable weight loss plan is one that promotes approximately 1-2 lbs. per week.  More than that results in loss of muscle mass, not fat.  You need muscle to boost your metabolism.

2.  Does it prohibit entire food groups?

Food is not bad.  Sugar is enemy #1 if you are trying to lose weight.  Since it occurs naturally in most foods, you can't really ban it, but you can limit it.  Limiting your intake of simple carbohydrates (avoiding cookies and sweets) is wise.  But life is life, prohibiting these entirely will make it more difficult to get back on program after a lapse.

You should not make entire food groups off limits.  This is not smart.  If you are trying to lose weight, you must balance each food group.  You have to make sure you eat enough fiber, protein and healthy fats.  Fruits and vegetables provide vitamins and nutrients your body needs.

Whatever nutrition plan you choose, it should be one in which you are continually learning.

3. Are you eating real food?  

I know several people who have gone on a cleanse and eaten nothing but smoothies, gradually adding solid foods into their diet.  They have lost a lot of weight.  But they have not kept it off.

A protein shake a few times per week is not a bad thing.  But the majority of your meals should be ones in which to sink your teeth.

4.  Do you have to take lots of supplements?   

Everyone should take a daily vitamin.  Any additional supplements you take, you should research and decide what the health benefits are and if they are necessary.  If your nutritional plan requires you purchase their special products or invest hundreds of dollars in special dietary supplements, don't do it.

Do you hear me?  Don't do it!!!!

The only supplements I take are as follows:
Daily vitamin (I prefer the gummy chews)
Fish oil (there are lots of benefits for this!)
Whey Protein
BCAAs (for muscle recovery)

5.  Does your plan encourage you to make healthy choices?

This pretty much is the bottom line.  The process requires learning.   It's not about eliminating food groups, but which foods work best for you...even at what times of the day!

For example, I have learned:
  • I can eat a multigrain bagel after 11 a.m., but if I eat one in the morning, I'm done for the entire day.  All I want to do is eat all day.  It's like a calorie bomb.  
  • If I buy ice cream, I know I'm putting my diet at risk because one cup of ice cream is NOT ENOUGH!  I have no self-control with ice cream.
  • I have to eat breakfast or I am sick all day.
  • Chicken is life.  Grilled chicken.  Chicken salad.  Chicken thighs in the crockpot with cabbage and brown rice.  Chicken with tomato sauce and spaghetti squash.  CHICKEN...

I recommend using an app to track your calories and macros.  "Macros" is short for "macronutrients," which include carbohydrates, fats and protein.  I use MyFitnessPal and track my food every day.  The good, the bad, and the ugly.  When I don't track or am negligent in remembering to track everything, I get sloppy and my body sees the results.

I wrote about how to use MyFitnessPal here:  Flexible Dieting Basics.

So, you decide.  Is the weight loss program you've chosen something you can live with?  If you choose this plan, will you both lose weight and keep it off?

Question for you...(Answer in the comment section below.)
What is your New Year's resolution for 2017?

Are you up to speed on my series on wellness?  Check it out!
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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

With Us

Can I hear a big sigh of relief from every Mom out there who celebrates Christmas?  This is the craziest time of year for anyone who has a child under the age of "I still believe."  (Whatever age that might be for your kid/s.)  Even after your kids "get it," the fact remains that there are still gifts to buy, wrap and put under the tree ... Preparations.  Parties.  Baking.  Cooking.  Shopping.  Work.  Don't even want to look at the credit card bills.  Sigh.
Our Christmas tree.  It's a little lopsided at the top, but I think it's super pretty this year.
This song seriously wraps up how I feel in a little more than three minutes:

Just Breathe by Johnny Diaz

Third cup of joe just to get me through the day.
I want to make the most of time, but I feel it slip away...
♬ ♪ ♩ ♫

My son's birthday is December 13, which added a whole new level of crazy to the month.  Even though my kids are still home, they are grown / growing up.  We don't have to attend 15 different Christmas parties anymore.  And...I don't have to go with them everywhere.  It's a huge sigh of relief. 
Love the lipstick...and the Snapchat filters.
Follow me:  tracoleman993
I used to say that December 26 was my favorite day of the year because FINALLY it was all over.  I seriously hated the stress.  How I kept it together, I don't know.  I do know what I do now and it has made all the difference for me in making the Christmas season truly joyful.
This is me today, as I write this blog.  No makeup.  Messy hair.  Listening to Youtube while my son has his friends over.
How Can It Be by Lauren Daigle is currently playing.  I so enjoy this time after Christmas to find myself again.
Christmas music all day every day.  Yes, from Thanksgiving until Christmas, it's nothing but Carols all day.  Our local radio station plays nothing but Christmas music during that time, so I'm tuned in all the time.  At work, I play a variety of Christmas tunes on YouTube.  I'm a little slow to the uptake, but I found that YouTube has a mix of different songs that are comparable to what you chose and it plays pretty much all day.  Go ahead and give it a try.  Search for your favorite song on YouTube and on the right side bar, there are other suggestions.  Towards the top, it says, "50 videos +" and "Mix -" with the name of your song.  Click on that and you can listen all day.

It's been so relaxing for me while I've been working.  I heard this song last week:

Light of the World by Lauren Daigle
The world waits for a miracle
The heart longs for a little bit of hope
O come O come Emmanuel

O Come O Come Emmanuel is probably my absolute favorite Christmas song.  I love the depth of it, the broad spectrum of the notes.  It touches me more than any other song.  So when I heard this one, with the "O come O come Emmanuel" as the refrain and "Glory to the light of the world."  I was moved.

Why do we even sing, "Emmanuel"?  What's the big deal?  In the Bible, Isaiah prophesied:
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign:  
The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14
In the New Testament, Matthew repeats this prophesy and explains that Immanuel means, "God with us."  (Matthew 1:23)

God with us.  

Jesus was born to be God in flesh, to be with us and live here with us.

But that was over 2,000 years ago.  Jesus died.  Really?  God with us?  

Yes.  He is with us.  Even today.  In the hecticness of life.  In our pain.  In our joy.  In our sorrow.  He is with us.  God is with us.

O come, O come, Emmanuel.  

We sing this familiar Christmas carol, calling, "Come, be with us."  He is not just with us at Christmas.   He never wants us to live a rat race life, let alone spin ourselves into such a craze to celebrate His birth.  I guarantee that.  In fact, with all the secularism of Christmas, the exorbitant shopping and lack of peace we experience during this holiday season, one might say we actually remove ourselves from Him for the sake of celebrating His coming, His birth, His return.  

As you wind down into the New Year, think about this.  God is with us.  He is with you.  Sometimes it's hard to feel it.  To know He is here, by our side.  But in the stillness and quiet, he is as close as you allow him to be.  Close your eyes.  Listen.  

God with us.

Questions for you...(Answer in the comment section below.)
If you celebrate it, do you love Christmas?  What's the best part?   Are you still listening to Christmas carols like me?

Are you up to speed on my series on wellness?  Check it out!

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Monday, December 19, 2016

NOT a runner

Please pardon the interruption to my series on wellness for this news briefing.  I am sooooooooo excited to share this with you!!!!

Last Sunday I ran my very first 5K race.  Yep, my very first one!!!  It felt fantastic and I loved it.  Okay, so let me be honest.  I hate running.  It stinks.  But the feeling after you run is addicting.  The "Whomp!!!  You did it!  You kicked some serious @$$!!!!" feeling.  It's hard to describe, but it's a pure adrenaline rush.
Yeah me!!!  Time:  28:09   
There are a whole lot of reasons why I shouldn't run, the number one being that the orthopedic surgeon told me two years ago, "NO running!"  But I'm a bit of a rebel.  Since I hurt my shoulder, my training has been limited.  Then came in the "I'm going for a 'NOT' run" (as I would tell my husband).
I have arthritis in my left knee.  No torn meniscus.
The "NOT running" started last summer when I was doing interval training on the treadmill.  I walked for two minutes, then increased my pace to my maximum for one minute.  This maximum pace increased steadily to the point where I was running.  "One minute, it's not too bad."  Repeat this rotation for 24 minutes.  I loved increasing my speed on the treadmill each time.  Pushing my maximum effort to more than what I did before made me feel like I was accomplishing something.  And I sweat like crazy, which proved to me I was working hard.  I loved it.

drip,drip, drip
 Then I started run / walking outside.  Basically, I did the same thing as on the treadmill, only instead of timing it, I used driveways to mark my distance.  This was even harder.  Run:  "Try to get to the end of the street."  Walk.  "Breathe, catch your breath.  Breathe."  Run:  "Try to go a little further this time."
I even started running laps inside work on my late nights.
In November, I started running further distances without walking.  I started at one mile and worked my way up a little bit gradually.  And then I ran my first 5K race.  Yeah!!!  So psyched!!!
Our Team
So, why run?  Why go against the doctor's orders?   Here's the thing, I am by NO means telling you to go against your doctor's orders.  Not by any means.  Two years ago I weighed 50 lbs. more than I do now.  I was no where near as strong as I am today.  Not by a long shot.  Not only that, I am a lot smarter about my own abilities and my own body.  I recently saw a segment on The Doctors about this woman with MS who is running 7 marathons on 7 continents.  If she can do that, I can certainly run a 5K.  (Woman with MS to Run 7 Marathons on 7 Continents.)  So, I took a calculated risk and so far it's come up okay.
Don't you just LOVE the pink headband with the cranberry shirt?
If my knee is wobbly or achey, I don't run.  Running is nothing like riding my bike. But it's too cold to ride  my bike and the roads are a mess due to the recent snow we've had.  So...this lets me push myself.  And...even though I hate it while I'm doing it, I like the way I feel after I run.

Sweat man...nothing like a good run to majorly sweat!
Questions for you...
Do you run?  
Do you want to run?  
Do you think you could ever do a 5K?  Do you wish you could?  
Send me an email and I'll give you some tips on how to get started.  I am NO expert, not at all, but having JUST started, I can tell you what worked and did not work for me.'

Are you up to speed on my series on wellness?  Check it out!

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Sunday, December 18, 2016

Breakfast 101

Throughout  my entire life I heard, "Breakfast is the most important meal."  When I was on one diet or another, I often skipped breakfast to save calories or points.  When I was fat, I hardly ever ate breakfast, except maybe donuts here or there and on weekends when I made pancakes for the kids.

So, why breakfast?  What's so important about it?  What about bacon?  What about eggs?  And is cereal any good?

I am three years into this fitness journey.  I eat breakfast every day.  I'll explain why later in the post.  During the week, what I eat is pretty standard.  I'll go through phases when I eat the same one or two things every day.  But this is pretty much it:

Breakfast Option 1
2 eggs (either soft boiled or over easy)  Use cooking spray to save on the fat from oiling your pan.
1 slice Arnold Double Protein bread, toasted
Coffee with half & half

Breakfast Option 2
Egg Fritata
Coffee with half & half

Breakfast Option 3
Protein Smoothie made with peanut butter
Coffee with half & half

Breakfast Option 4
1/2 Cup Oatmeal
1 serving fruit (mashed banana, fresh sliced berries, or a peeled, chopped apple)
1 Scoop Protein
Coffee with half & half

Yep, that's it.  Every once in a while, if I'm not feeling well or am super tired, I'll eat a bowl of Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal with almond milk and call it a day.  (Don't forget the coffee!)

On the weekends, if I am motivated, I might make protein pancakes.  My cousin Jamie introduced me to Kodiak Cakes, with which I am just experimenting.  I'll let you know what I think of them later on.

So, why breakfast?

There is definitely science to the importance of breakfast.  You may or may not have heard the specifics, here they are in a nutshell:  
  •   A healthy breakfast helps to improve concentration and performance throughout the day, 
  •   Provides you with energy, which prevents fatigue.
  •   Promotes overall healthier eating.
If I miss breakfast, I am off for the rest of the day.  Recently I went home sick because I suddenly felt sick and thought I was going to pass out.  What I didn't realize is that my blood sugar crashed.  I was busy and skipped breakfast, had a protein shake mid-morning, which was low in carbohydrates.  (I need carbs!)  After I had it, I became ill.  This doesn't happen every time I skip a meal, but having been obese for so long, I am still prone to pre-diabetic symptoms (hypoglycemia) I had pretty regularly three years ago (like blood sugar dips and spikes).  Lesson for me?  Keep peanut butter crackers in my desk.

I know most people who don't eat breakfast say they don't have the time to fix  or eat breakfast, or they don't want the calories.

A healthy breakfast is worth the calories.  You don't have to have an outrageous breakfast every day.  Two eggs and a slice of whole grain toast is about 260 calories.  In the overall picture of your day, that's a small percent.  As far as the time it takes to make breakfast?  Either make it the night before or have everything ready to make while you are getting ready in the morning.  

When I have a protein shake, I put everything into the cup the night before and throw it on the blender when I am ready to eat it.  It takes seconds.  When fresh berries are out of season, I will throw frozen ones in at the last minute so the shake is frosty.   I make my fritatas the night before.  Even if I have oatmeal, I will put the dry oatmeal into the bowl before I go to bed.  In the morning, I add water, microwave the oatmeal, add fruit and protein powder after cooking the oatmeal.  Done.  I have tried overnight oatmeal, but I don't like it.

Healthy Breakfast Options

What about bacon?  What about eggs?  And is cereal any good?

If you grew up in the 80s, you were told to stay away from eggs.  Eggs are high in cholesterol.  Don't eat eggs.  Well, scientists have revealed that the cholesterol in eggs is not bad for you.  So go ahead and eat your eggs.  My fritatas (a fancy way of saying omelet) are made of egg whites and one egg.  I like the yolk and I need my eggs to be somewhat yellow / orange.

Bacon, on the other hand is a processed meat.  The fat and nitrates are something you should steer away from.  However, a treat once in a while is not a bad thing.  I have turkey bacon on hand, but I hardly ever eat it.  Nitrates are nitrates whether it's pork or turkey.

Cereal is awesome.  I love cereal.  You want to choose cereals that are low in sugar and high in fiber.  My absolutely favorite cereal is Kashi Go Lean Crunch.  I don't tend to eat kids' cereal, although I do love Honey Nut Cheerios.  Just make sure to read the labels.  A bowl of Kashi is higher in calories than a bowl of Cocoa Puffs, but the former is higher in protein and fiber, making it a much better option.

Kashi Go Lean Crunch with 1/2 cup almond milk will satisfy me until my mid-morning yogurt.  It might be higher in calories than Cocoa Puffs, but the protein and fiber are well worth it.
One of the reasons I don't eat cereal every day is I am conscious of my macros and I really need to eat protein at every meal.  Cereal is lower in protein than what I normally eat for breakfast.  This is why I usually add protein powder to my oatmeal.  

Here are a couple good reads about breakfast:

Read more from my series on wellness

Questions for you...
What did you eat for breakfast today?  
Do you have a favorite breakfast recipe you will share with me?  Email it to me today.
Post your comments below.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

On Friendship

Instead of being a joyful season, I used to find this time of year actually sucked the joy right out of me.  That has improved as my kids have gotten older and life has settled down somewhat.

To continue with my series on wellness, I want to share a brief meditation I hope will boost your morale / spirits.  This week I want to focus on friendship.

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
Proverbs 18:24

I have found that true friendship is hard to come by and is a precious gift to treasure.  There are different types of friends ... friends for a lifetime or a season ... confidants ... those you enjoy spending time with ... those you trust with your darkest secrets and those you go to for advice.  The best ones are those who listen to you without judgment.

Over the past six months, I have been struggling with the loss of a friend.  The pain is deep and often cuts to the core.  Just when I think I've got it under control, a wave of grief passes over me and I just want to cry.  There are not too many people I can talk to about it.  In fact, I don't really want to talk to people about it.  I just want my friend back.  (I wrote about this here:  How long does it take to heal a broken heart?)

That said, today I talked to Erica and she heard me.  I told her that I need my brain to shut off, so that at 1:30 a.m. when I can't sleep, I'm not wrought with grief that shakes me for the rest of the day.  She gave me some good advice, some things I need to just say to myself over and over.  She can't know how much she helped me.  She is the kind of friend I want to keep forever.

I love this girl!  She's my person.
Recently I made a new friend.  Her name is Lidiya.  Lidiya is probably one of the nicest people I have ever met.  Being around her and talking to her makes you want to be a better person.  We walk together twice a week and talk about everything.  I mean everything.  I am so glad she is in my life.

Lidiya invited me to the Bible Truck Exhibit at her church last month.  They had a photo booth and we posed for a couple pictures they used to make a bookmark souvenir for us. 
As you rush through the next few weeks, take some time to appreciate your friends.  Who are the people you trust most?  Who listens to you when you feel like you're out of your mind?  Who makes you want to be a better you?  Write them a note.  Tell them what they mean to you.  Give them a hug and thank them for being there.  Say a prayer for them.
Count on Me by Bruno Mars

Occasionally I talk to people who tell me they don't really have any friends.  If this is the case, I suggest you seek out at least one person and try to cultivate that relationship.  If you are a super busy mom or dad, driving your kids all around, try to befriend the parents of your kids' friends.  It could be a text message that says, "What are you doing this weekend?  Do you want to grab lunch?  Coffee?"  Don't just say, "We should get together sometime."  Do it. Set a date and stick to it.  It can take time to see if you're a good fit together.  It's worth the investment.  It is.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 
If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.  But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Life is precious.  Friendship is a valuable treasure to hold onto.

Read more from my series on wellness

Questions for you...
Do you have at least one person you can talk to, who will hear you and listen to you without judgment?  Who is that person?  Write him/her a note today.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Put a Little Love in Your Step

At a recent appointment, the doctor referred to me as an "athlete" when describing my condition to his student.  Athlete?  Me?  Ha!  No way would I ever have imagined myself as an athlete.
This is me in 2012.  To think of myself as an athlete then was, more than laughable.
But here's the truth.  I love to work out.  In fact, I feel best after one that pushes the limits of my endurance.  Any physical activity that gets my heart rate up, makes me sweat or makes me want to quit...but I push through it anyway. This kind of physical fatigue helps to both manage stress and provide a sense of accomplishment, and is tremendously rewarding.  But an athlete?  Ha...I don't know about this.

Ok, so maybe I am athletic, but I am no competitive athlete, that's for sure!
Here's the thing, you need to move your body pretty much every day.  Yes, every day.  In fact, I'm not the only one to say it.  The American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control recommend 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise at least five days per week and muscle-strengthening which focuses on all muscle groups at least two days per week.

Question of the day....

How in the world do I do that?  Where do I even begin?

It's easy.  If you are a beginner, start with walking.  Yes.  That's it.  Start with a walk.  I recommend using a fitness tracker, such as a Fitbit.  I used to have a Jawbone UP24, but now I just use the pedometer in my phone (most phones have one).  Step one is to determine your baseline.  For at least five days, carry your phone with you everywhere, or wear your Fitbit (or other tracking device) all the time.  Look at your average steps / mileage each day, add it and divide by the number of days you are tracking.  Then look at increasing your steps by 10%.  So, if your average number of steps in 5,000 steps, try to increase by 500 steps.  That's probably a brief 10 minute walk.  Gradually increase to 1/2 hour, then to an hour.  One hour might seem like a lot, but listening to music* while you walk or walking with a friend makes the time fly by quickly.  Set yourself a deadline.  "I want to walk 10,000 steps every day by the end of two weeks."  Then stick to that deadline.

My average daily steps since November 25 is 8,600 steps.  To increase my daily average to 10,000 steps. that's simply adding about a one mile walk to my day each day.  This is a quick walk around the block with the puppy for me.
This is an easily attainable goal.   The most important thing is to NOT over do it.  Seriously!!!  If you are averaging 3,000 steps / day and you start taking 5 mile walks immediately, you're either going to hate it or you won't be able to maintain the consistency of that.  The key is set a goal, determine your frequency and then stick to it.  What do I mean by frequency?
  • Three 10 minute walks:  one before work, one at lunch, one after work or
  • A 1/2 hour walk every day or
  • One hour walk / 2x per week with two 15-minute walks on the other days
Start small, then work your way up.

Already relatively active?  Increase the intensity of your exercise.  Add some intervals to your walks.  I started interval running over the summer and have made it up to being able to run 3 miles now.  I am NOT a runner.  In fact, my doctor told me, "No running!"  But I HATE the limitations I've had from my shoulder pain, so I started running.
This afternoon's run.  Don't you just love the pink headband with the maroon shirt?
Interval training / exercise is proven to be a very effective way to burn fat.  Yes, my friends, that's right.  So, how do you do it?  If you are walking, walk very slowly for two minutes, then increase your speed as fast as you can for one minute.  Continue this for 24 minutes, with a cool down for six minutes (there's your thirty).  If one minute at a fast pace is too much, try one minute very slow, followed by 30 seconds as fast as you can.

As I continue this series on wellness, I will give you some more exercise tips / tidbits.  Walking is a great start and interval training will most definitely help you with weight loss goals. So, we will start there with my blog.  As the season continues, I'll throw some more practical suggestions your way. Whatever you do, stick with it!

Put a Little Love in Your Heart
by Jackie DeShannon

*Top 5 songs on my playlists:

Running playlist:
Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake
Cheap Thrills by Sia
Me Too by Meghan Trainor
Don't Let Me Down by The Chainsmokers
Let Me Love You (feat. Justin Beaber) by DJ Snake

Walking playlist:
Forever by Kari Jobe
10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman
The More I seek You by Christ for the Nations
Oceans by Hillsong UNITED
Overcome by Jeremy Camp

Read more from my series on wellness

Questions for you...
Do you like to exercise?  If not, what's your least despised way to move your body?
If you do like to exercise, what's your preference?  Comment in the section below.

Subscribe to new posts!  When a new post is added, you will receive an email notice so you can check it out.  I promise:  no SPAM and I won't share your email address with anyone.  Look at the top right side of the page to subscribe.  

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Empty Fridge Syndrome

Don't you just hate it when you don't know what to have for dinner?  You open the fridge and there's nothing there.  Nothing you want or feel like, anyway.

I hate that!!!  It is especially dangerous when you are watching your nutrition.  It leads to being hungry and binge eating foods that are not healthy.  I used to eat an entire container of ice cream in one night if I couldn't figure out what I wanted to eat.

I have learned to keep a few MUST haves on hand at all times.  Here are a few:
  • Coffee
  • Salad fixings:  greens (either salad greens, kale or spinach), cucumbers, tomatoes (at all times)
  • Bear Naked granola or  Kashi Go Lean Crunch cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Greek yogurt (Oikos Triple Zero is my favorite)
  • Eggs
  • Chicken breasts (I pre-cook these and freeze individual portion sizes)
  • Almond milk
  • Protein Powder
  • Bananas
  • Peanut Butter
I could survive on just these for a few days if there was nothing else to eat AND know my nutrition would be on point.  To avoid the "Empty Fridge Syndrome", you have to learn how to keep the essentials on hand.

I avoid it by meal planning.  I don't do intensive meal prepping because it doesn't work for me.  I make my lunch and put together my snacks the night before. A typical day in meals might look like this for me:

Breakfast:  Coffee, two eggs, one slice whole wheat bread
a.m. snack: 1 oz. almonds
Lunch:  Vegetable Soup (homemade) and grilled chicken breasts
p.m. snack:  6 oz. Greek Yogurt
Dinner:  Chicken thighs, lentils, roasted Brussels sprouts
evening snack:  a Skinny Cow ice cream (maybe)

Breakfast, lunch and my snacks are pretty much the same thing every day for a week at a time.  Dinner varies, but I do eat left overs.  My goal is always to reach at least 100 grams protein each day, so focusing on protein for each meal and snack gets me to that goal.

Calories:  255; 20 g protein, 13 g fat, 17 g carbohydrates
(Including the cream in my coffee, not pictured.)
I buy Arnold's Double Protein bread, which has 7 g protein in one slice.
This week for breakfast, I had a protein shake on Monday - Tuesday and two eggs with whole wheat toast yesterday and today.  For lunch I had a salad with grilled chicken for lunch on Monday and Tuesday.  Yesterday I had grilled chicken with lentils, and steamed vegetables (this is planned for today, as well).  These are easy to make and healthy meals.

For dinner, I had an egg frittata both Monday and Tuesday (I wasn't feeling well).
Easy peasy:
I take a handful of baby spinach and wilt it in the microwave. then I drain the excess liquid and cut it up.
While the spinach is cooking, I scramble one egg (with a fork) and add in 1/2 C egg whites, blending well.
I add 1/4 cup low fat feta cheese and the spinach.
I cook in a hot pan (pre-warmed on medium heat).  It takes about 5 minutes to cook, sometimes longer.  I flip it over so the eggs cook on both sides.  I love it and it's super good for your macros.
212 calories:  7.5 g fat, 5 g carbohydrates, 27.3 g protein
You can add other vegetables if you want.  I'm on a spinach kick right now.
Wednesday night, I was low on calories, so I had a feast:
A 6 oz. pork chop with Shake N Bake, a 3 oz. sweet potato, steamed vegetables, a salad with light dressing and canned peaches in their own juice.
The meal was over 600 calories, but like I said, I was low on calories and I needed to eat.  I can't give you all the macros as they worked out, but you could bring the meal down to a lot less calories by eliminating the salad (and dressing). the peaches and cutting the pork chop down.
Tonight's dinner will be grilled sirloin, roasted potatoes and steamed vegetables.

If you struggle with "Empty Fridge Syndrome," this weekend, try to stock your cupboards and fridge with some basic essentials.  This way, when you don't know what to eat, you have these to fall back on.  It's amazing how much variety you can add to eggs and chicken, without feeling like you are eating the same thing day in and day out.

Questions for you...
What's your favorite breakfast food?
What's your healthiest meal?  Will you share the recipe with me?  Send me pictures too

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Radio Silence

What a year 2016 has been!
After the ugliness of the US presidential election,  I pretty much logged off of social media for a few weeks.  It made me take pause, stop and reflect on what is important.  What would happen if we took time to meet our neighbors, maybe even to do something nice for them... If we found a good cause to support...  Maybe if we turned off the negativity and used our energy for good...  We would be better individuals... A better nation... Maybe even a better world.

In that light. I haven't been attending to this blog because I've had nothing to say. But today I'm putting it all behind me and trying to direct my energies into something positive.
Since we are in the beginning of the holiday season, I want to focus on wellness: nutrition, fitness and spiritual/emotional health.  Each post from now until the New Year will feature one of these components, essential to overall health.  I will share some healthy meal suggestions, recipes, workouts and maybe even a meditation or two. 
Went on my first bike ride since September a couple weeks ago.  It was a gorgeous day.  With having to recover from both my shoulder injury and the surgery I had on my leg, it's been a struggle.  Felt so good to be back!
Questions for you...
What is your favorite healthy meal?  Would you share your recipe with me?

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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Today is the day!

Today I finally got to go to the gym and work out. 

I am officially medically cleared to exercise again.  Yeah!!!  With conditions, of course.  "Don't over do it!"  "No heavy lifting."

Okay, Doc.  I hear you.

So, let's back track a bit.  I injured my shoulder last spring, re-injured it in September, rode 100 miles on my bike a few days later and seriously inflamed the tendon.  Two weeks ago I had a cortisone shot.  The next day, I had vein ablation surgery on my right leg for my varicose veins.  Last Sunday I woke up, convinced I had a blood clot.  Spent the morning in the e.r.  Diagnosis:  superficial thromboflebitis.

Saw the doctor yesterday and he said I'm good to go.

Yippeee!!!!  I'm so excited!!!!
I forgot  my hair tie and it was super windy yesterday!!!
I thought I would overdo it when I went to the gym, because that sounds like something I would do.  But I didn't.  I kept the weight down.  Focused on form and increased my reps.
I'm more of a free weight lifter.  But my shoulder has to heal fully before I can do much serious lifting, so I'm sticking to machines for my legs.
I started writing this last night and never got back to finishing it...

This morning I am going back to the gym for cardio, core and a Pilates class.  I got a run in this morning.

I am not a runner.  I have no idea if this is a good time for a beginner or not.  I have no idea if I'm wearing the right shoes, if my pace is right or not.  But to me, it's kind of like riding a bike.  Just get out there and do it, learn each time you do it and make adjustments as you go.  What do you think?  

I feel great!!  I do.  I'm so happy to be back at the gym.  I didn't let the restrictions get to me.  The first week I did a lot of walking and hiking.  I had a scare last weekend with the blood clot.  Essentially the veins in my leg are not happy.  It's been quite painful.  This week I took it easy until the doctor cleared me.  Yippee!!!

So, it's 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and I'm heading to the gym to work out.  Have a great day, everyone!

Questions for you (answer in the comment section below):
What's your favorite form of cardio?  Have you ever been restricted from your favorite activity?  How did you deal with it?

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Sunday, October 16, 2016

Plan B

This weekend has been busy, but awesome!

Friday night I helped a couple colleagues get started with a workout plan.  That was fun.
You can do a lot with a little!
Yesterday morning I went hiking in the morning with puppy Leia and my friend Cyndi.  We had a great time at Peaked Mountain.
On our way home, I stopped to take a picture of that church.  It was so pretty with the bright blue sky behind it and the colorful tree in front!
In the afternoon, I went to an Eagle Scout Ceremony for one of the boys that was in my Cub Scout Den back in the day.  I am so proud of him.  Sticking with it is not easy, especially with all the demands on kids to do other things.  Scouting is a commitment and he did it!
Top:  Matthew, Liam (guest of honor), me, Devon and Sean
Bottom:  My den of WEBELOS in about 2008, I think.  Three of them stayed with scouting and went on to become Eagle Scouts.  I am so proud of them!
Then last night my church had a celebratory 20th Anniversary Dinner.  I went with my dad as my date and had a super nice time with him.

Today is somewhat open, but after yesterday's whirlwind, I think I am good with that.

Now that you are up to speed...

I finally have some answers about my shoulder and the pain I have been experiencing.  I have what is called bicep tendinitis.  Yes, it's my shoulder that hurts, but it's the tendon that connects my bicep to my shoulder that is causing all the trouble.  The pain was so bad last week that I called my doctor on Monday.  He said it sounds like tendinitis and ordered an X-Ray and referred me to a specialist.  On Wednesday I had a cortisone shot and was the recipient of a very stern lecture about ceasing all activity that may be contributing to the pain.  Pretty much, this means no more lifting, cardio (that involves moving my arms like an elliptical or running), vacuuming, laundry. or even biking.  His orders?  Rest.  After 1-2 weeks I can start doing my physical therapy exercises again with VERY little weight and VERY low repetitions and I am to cease all activity if I experience pain.  And absolutely NO biking until he clears me to ride again.

I guess that means I'm going to hang up my bike for the season.  :-(
On Thursday I had vein ablation surgery for the varicose veins in my right leg.  It might seem like this is a cosmetic procedure, and to some degree it is.  But my right leg aches every time I am on my feet for a while.  It gets worse at night when it is at rest and decides to throb like crazy.  After consulting a surgeon, I found out that the procedure can prevent future problems, such as venous ulcers.  The procedure was very painful.  I will not lie.  But recovery has been relatively easy.  Doctor's orders: "No lifting or strenuous activity for two weeks."  Oh, okay, isn't that funny that the endocrinologist said the same thing?

So now here I am at Plan B.

It's taken me a little while to swallow the pill, but I'll be honest with you, I'd rather have answers than be up in the air with what's going on.  Now I know.  I have tendinitis, which essentially is an overuse injury.  The only way for it to heal is to rest.  If I am not careful, I can tear the tendon and end up with what they call "Popeye Muscle."  The only way to repair this is with surgery, which they won't do.  So, yeah.  Rest sounds good to me.

I am surprisingly okay with it.  I am.  I can tell you the exact date I can go back to the gym too.

 And when I do go back, I am going to take it super easy.  I will.  I learned a lot from Physical Therapy and I'm going to make good use of what I learned.
As far as my legs go, I'll ease back into them too.  The veins in my right leg are in pretty rough shape, this was only the first treatment.  I don't want to develop complications because I chose to be aggressive with my training.

Yeah, so 25 steps back.  It's okay.

Plan B:  Walk.
I bet the puppies will like all the walks! 

Question for you (answer in the comment section below):
What did you do this weekend?

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